NEWS
04/08/2020 14:23 EDT | Updated 04/08/2020 14:24 EDT

Fundraiser For Quebec Walmart Security Guard Suspended Amid New Developments

Police allege a customer angry with the store's coronavirus precaution policy assaulted the guard.

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A security guard at the Walmart in Sherbrooke, Que., about 150 kilometres east of Montreal, was seriously injured after an alleged altercation.

MONTREAL — A crowdfunding campaign to support a Quebec security guard allegedly injured by a driver angry about Walmart’s social distancing policies has been suspended after new details about the incident emerged.

Sherbrooke police said that Philippe Jean had refused to let both Nacime Kouddar and his girlfriend into the store on Saturday, as only one customer per vehicle was allowed inside at once as part of policies to limit the spread of coronavirus. An altercation ensued, leading to the guard being dragged by a vehicle for several metres and suffering a serious head injury. 

Jean, 35, remains in intensive care in hospital, and Kouddar, 25, has been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and failure to stop after an accident.

But surveillance video obtained by Kouddar’s lawyer reportedly shows the guard getting into his own vehicle to chase the customer, according to La Tribune. Security footage apparently recorded Jean exiting his truck and jumping onto the hood of Kouddar’s vehicle, said the newspaper.

Funds frozen

Aurélien Hallade, who started an online fundraiser for Jean’s family, decided to suspend the campaign on Tuesday “until all the light is shed on this story.” He told HuffPost Quebec that some donors had contacted him to ask that he “temporarily halt the collection.”

Hallade and crowdfunding platform Tiing froze the $163,690 that had been raised so far. Hallade said he doesn’t know the victim, but has spoken to his family a few times, and they’re in favour of suspending the campaign “until emotions come down.”

He promised donors will be given the option to maintain or withdraw their donations before April 20, when the campaign is scheduled to close. He said Tiing assured him such a procedure was possible and had been used before.

“I launched this fundraiser because a security agent was injured,” said Hallade, who trains security guards. “My goal wasn’t to say who was right or wrong. It was to cover the damages caused and help the family.”

He added: “I don’t want to play judge in this story.”

Sherbrooke police spokesperson Martin Carrier told HuffPost that it was aware of the footage and had flagged it to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPP).

“It would be up to the DCPP to decide whether new charges should be laid,” Carrier said.

The DCPP declined to comment because the case is in front of the court. 

Kouddar was granted bail Wednesday and released with several conditions.

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